Roses and absurdism? Man, it’s almost like Ikuhara’s the showrunner or something.
Absolutely no one will be surprised to learn that Episode 117 was storyboarded and directed by Ikuhara himself, as it is hands-down the weirdest Sailor Moon to date and also one of its silliest. I’m not sure anyone else in the ani-business combines both meanings of the word “funny” so skillfully as Ikuhara does, and the result is just endless sight gags and WTF-ery that kept startling laughs out of me.
It also snuck in a really nice message about self-positivity and overcoming obstacles, whether those obstacles are whistlin’ security personnel or a chronic illness. That’s not to say Hotaru’s illness(es?) won’t affect her life, of course, but so far she’s been letting it define her and severely limit what she does and who she spends time with, and it certainly doesn’t have to. Thanks to both Chibiusa and her meeting with track star Hayase this week, I think she’s starting to realize that as well.
Such heartwarming optimism in an episode where Mimete blows her nose on a Keep Out sign three times in a row! Yep. That sounds like an Ikuhara episode, all right.
Episode 116 – Roses are Red, Hotaru is Blue
Hotaru’s still avoiding Chibiusa, so the Chibs uses fake presents and hidden notes to invite her bestie on a picnic. Hotaru’s hesitant, but Professor Dad shows up to be all “Sorry I’ve been ignoring you to do mad SCIENCE in the basement, but hey, you can totes fill that hole in your heart with friends, right?” And that’s all the encouragement she needs!
Mamoru takes the trio to a botanical garden-type place, where they all get to frolic amongst the roses with varying degrees of grace while Mamoru captures these Kodak Moments and The Outsiders lurk in the distance glowering suspiciously at Hotaru. Haruka is annoyed that the Moonies ignored her super-specific and reasonable request to toss Hotaru like week-old Chinese takeout, and my eyes roll halfway to the Moon Kingdom.
Enter Mimete, who’s been sent by The Prof to capture Katsumi’s heart, but would much rather go after younger, shoujo-sparklier souls instead. Which is about when she spots Mamoru and has another crisis of loyalty. Obey her boss, or steal the hot dude’s heart?
Mamoru solves the problem for her when she later approaches him, flirting mercilessly, and he tells her he’s there on a family outing with his future wife and daughter. Even Mimete knows better than to get involved with that level of cray-cray, so she changes her target back to Katsumi.
Meanwhile, Katsumi’s off giving fatherly advice to Hotaru, such as “Parents got shit to do, so quit whining and totes fill that hole in your heart with friends!” There’s some half-explored conflict where Hotaru doesn’t approve of controlling plant life within greenhouse walls, then Katsumi explains they’re inside because he’s trying out new “disease-resistant” breeds, but Mimete throws them off a ladder and knocks Hotaru unconscious before this can really come to anything.
Time for the Moons to sweep in! And for U Bara, the Rose Daimon, to go to work. Guess it’s a good thing we’ve got our own rose-slinger around, innit?
I finally get to yell “ROSE FIIIIGHT!” like I wanted to 10 episodes ago, but it’s short-lived, as everyone and their future mom gets vine-wrapped. Thankfully Hotaru’s got Dolly the Messilence inside of her to bust out and attack the first thing that moves, draining the life from U Bara and giving Usagi the chance to Heartache it into oblivion.
You know, I feel like maybe Dolly didn’t get the memo about which side of this fight she was supposed to be on…
Episode 117 – The Showrunner Can Do As He Likes
The episode begins with Sparkly Cosmic Mamoru telling the Moonies about the Outer Guardians, and it only gets better from there. Artemis is moved, MOVED by their dedication, but I still can’t see why the two teams can’t work together.
Not that any of that matters this week, ‘cause it’s all about Hotaru and her admiration for Hayase, a once-sickly child who now holds the record for both the high jump and the fullest eyelashes in Japan. All of which is very touching and sweet, so of course Kaori has to pop in like the troll she is to snark about it.
She hits a nerve when she mocks Hotaru for writing a letter she doesn’t have the courage to send, so Hotaru heads over to spend the day at Chibiusa’s and ask for some advice. The Bunnies both encourage her to be true to her feelings, and offer to walk with her down to the track where Hayase’s practicing so she can give it to him persona…
Sorry, I lost my train of thought, because THE WITCHES ARE PLAYING TWISTER.
And then the Prof interrupts Mimete in the middle of an endless series of suggestive leg lifts so he can send her on a mission to steal Hayase’s NOPE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE PLOT, NOW HE’S PLAYING TOO, THERE IS A MAD SCIENTIST PLAYING TWISTER WITH A BUNCH OF WITCHES.
Then Mimete goes to the track and things get really weird. She’s crushing on Hayase pretty hard and decides she’s gonna bust down the gate, Keep Out signs be damned. But after she tears down the sign, blows her nose on it (thrice!) and chucks it in the trash, she turns to find a Security Guard giving her a STERN GLARE that scares her into returning the sign to its rightful place.
We, uh… we good here, Mr. Security Guard?
But you know who ISN’T afraid of security guards? The one named Sailor Moon, that’s who! While Chibiusa uses the legal pathways to meet up with Doctor Puu and her new companions in the stands, Usagi and Hotaru bust through the gate, chased by security guards who speak only in whistles. Episode MVPs.
Hayase’s not one to turn away a couple trespassers, though, so he comes over to see what’s going on. But despite ALL the Bunny love, Hotaru can’t quite manage to give him her letter.
Good thing Mimete’s around to break the awkward silence. She can’t forgive these no-good clingy fangirls, so she busts onto the field with Daimon U’ndokai, who creates a friction fireball to wreak havoc and BURN HOTARU’S LETTER?!
Usagi practically transforms in front of her, but Hotaru’s too shocked to care. Not that transforming does Usa any good—she and Chibs are both pretty useless again, and the baddies make off with Hayase’s heart. Oh noes! If ONLY we had three super-powered scouts standing in the bleachers instead of a bunch of lazy bums who can’t be bothered to hold up a transformation pen!
But alas, we do not, so it’s up to our local unconscious Antichrist to save the day. Either the Daimon are getting soft or they feel some kind of “loyalty impulse” towards the Messilence, because as U’ndokai runs by Hotaru, she pauses and backpedals to make sure she’s okay. And no, Dolly is NOT okay. She’s pissed off. Also, evil. Never a good combination, that.
U’ndokai takes an energy blast to the face, then Chibiusa sweeps in to perform a beautiful Action Hero move, lightly bruising the Daimon enough so that Usagi can finish it off.
Then it’s all over but the denouement, as Hotaru wakes up with Hayase hovering over her. Hayase’s happy to find someone who can understand his childhood experiences, and the two have a nice bonding moment where he encourages her to stay strong and work through her own illness as well. Then he goes off and breaks the high jump record again, ‘cause rock star. Doncha just love a good old-fashioned inspirational sports story?
This, That, and the Other
- Usagi getting jealous over Chibiusa spending time with Mamoru has officially gone from “annoying” to “weird.” She’s your daughter, Usa. She gets to hang on daddy’s arm sometimes, too.
- And somewhere this week the rest of the Moonies are sittin’ around like “Hey, remember when we used to, like, do stuff? That was fun…”
- LEATHER JACKET MAMORU. A+ Ikuhara. A freaking plus.
- Did they only just now get around to changing the “Witches 5” sign to read “Witches 4,” or did that happen a while ago and I didn’t notice until this week?
- Hark! A… character point? Y’know, Professor Dad is actually really nice to Hotaru. I can’t figure out if he’s just a special kind of psychopath, or if he’s got a Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde thing going on. Either way, it’s gonna be all kinds of awkward when she learns he’s a mad scientist trying to awaken the Antichrist inside of her and destroy the world. The “where do babies come from” conversation has got nothin’ on that family chat.